Commbank aims ‘for line of sight' IT management

The Commonwealth Bank's restructure of its technology, operations and procurement division reflected the need to give business units direct responsibility for their front and back office operations, according to new CIO Bob McKinnon.

"David Murray (the CEO) wanted to give the business units a clear line of site for back-office and front-office processes," McKinnon said. McKinnon, who previously reported to Russell Scrimshaw, group executive for technology, operations and procurement, now reports directly to CEO Murray.

A brief statement from the bank said that Scrimshaw "would be leaving the bank shortly".

However, while McKinnon noted that the bank was aiming for more direct business unit responsibility for its back and front office processes, the statement said that having group technology reporting directly to the CEO would "strengthen its role in the group's long-term strategic positioning [and when] working with its key technology partners".

McKinnon's background is non-IT in commercial banking and finance, with his resume including posts such as CFO of LendLease, chief executive of StateStreet and chief operating officer of MLC. He joined the Commonwealth in 2000.

He said his CIO role was one of strategic and policy management and general management of a very large outsourcing contract with EDS.

"As CEO, David [Murray] wanted the CIO reporting directly into him, as is best practice, and he is keen to make sure the organisation gets the best leverage out of the technology," McKinnon said. "We have hundreds of millions of dollars worth projects either under way or in the process of being planned and have a huge technology agenda."

McKinnon was speaking at a media tour of the bank's new Sydney cheque processing centre at Lidcombe.

This centre involves NCR ImageMark cheque processing technology, and middleware developed by Candle Corporation on top of an IBM WebSphere MQ Integrator platform to connect the imaging technology to the bank's back-end processing systems. Communications systems were deployed by TCNZA. EDS served as prime contractor.

Current throughput is 1.5 million items each day with some 38 million images of cheques and vouchers (among other items) available for retrieval in any one day via NCR's WebView.

While operated by bank staff, McKinnon said EDS provided the system as a service.

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